Category Archives: shifters

Peanut Goes to School by Thea Harrison


ORDER A COPY: Peanut Goes to School: A Short Story of the Elder Races

Publisher: Self Published
Publishing Date: June 30, 2014
eBook: 49 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Dragos Cuelebre is no longer the only dragon.

Dragos’s son Liam Cuelebre (a.k.a. Peanut) is springing into existence, reminiscent of the first of the Elder Races who were born at the beginning of the world. At just six months of age, he has already grown to the size of a large five-year-old boy. He can read, write in complete sentences, and his math skills are off the chart.

A white dragon in his Wyr form, Liam also holds more Power than almost anyone else. In an effort to give him a taste of normality, no matter how fleeting, his parents Pia and Dragos enroll him in first grade.

They hope school will help teach Liam how to relate to others, a vital skill that will help him control his growing Power. But school has a surprising number of pitfalls, and relating to others can be a tricky business.

When a classmate is threatened, Liam must quickly learn self-control, how to rein in his instincts, and govern his temper, because there’s no doubt about it—he is fast becoming one of the most dangerous creatures in all of the Elder Races.


Peanut, or Liam as we should call him since his is growing up so quickly, is becoming one of my favorite characters in this or just about any series.

Liam is the only a few months old, but as the first dragon since Dragos was created at the beginning of creation, no one is certain what to expect as far as powers or his unusual growth. He seems to have a blend of his parents personalities and abilities, but he keep surprising us all with new abilities of his very own. He even managed to sneak up on his Dad without his father sensing him, which his quite the feat.

On his first day of school, he is picked on by a few of the older boys as well as his teacher. He handles both instances with just the right mixture of intelligent thought, bravery and a little intimidation of his own. I am sure he will shine as a future leader in this series.

I can’t wait to see what else Liam’s unusual character will bring to the series as far as his adventures and his abilities. I just hope he doesn’t grow up too fast. I am not sure how I would feel about him growing up and getting his own love story when he is only, say two calendar years old.

Received an ARC from the  author in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

The tricky thing about using a cloaking spell is that cloaking spells are tricky.

Liam snickered to himself as he tiptoed around the patio furniture and changed into his dragon form. His dragon had grown to the size of an adult lion, and he had to be careful not to knock over furniture as he shapeshifted.

He also managed to hold on to his cloaking spell, which was a bit fat win. Dad had said Liam’s cloaking ability was one of the best he’d ever seen, although it was difficult to stay hidden while changing forms.

But since his dad could do it, Liam felt he would be able to it also. Eventually. Sometimes. If he kept practicing, pretty soon he should be able to stay cloaked all the time if he needed to.

Liam was playing his favorite game, Spy Wyr, which he had totally made up himself. When he grew up, he was going to be a secret sentinal. Uncle Graydon would send him out on missions, and when he returned after saving somebody, or maybe even after saving everybody, Mom and Dad would be really proud of him.

Of course, because it was undercover, Dad would have to give him medals in secret. Sometimes they might be silver or bronze ones, or when he did something amazing, they might be gold. Or maybe when he did something really outstanding, Dad would give him a sparkly medal with diamonds on it. Then Liam would have to find a super-secret place to hide them.

His dragon side like the sound of that. It made him feel growly and fine.

By day, Liam would be, oh, maybe a basketball player. Basketball players traveled a lot, so it would be a good cover, and besides it would be fun to play ball all the time, so that would be big fat win.

Hi, my name if Cuelebre, Liam Cuelebre. My code name is Double Oh Peanut, but you can call me Rock Star for short.

Pia Saves the Day by Thea Harrison


ORDER A COPY: Pia Saves the Day: A Novella of the Elder Races

Publisher: Thea Harrison
Publishing Date: June 23, 2014
ebook: 90 pages

Rating: 5 stars


In the latest story of the Elder Races, two mates face their deadliest challenge yet—each other…

Pia and Dragos’s magical young son Liam (the Peanut), is growing at an unprecedented rate, and if that isn’t enough, he is also exhibiting new, and unpredictable, magical gifts. To protect him, the concerned parents decide to move to upstate New York.

Both Dragos and Pia relish the idea of leaving behind the city. They finally have the space to indulge their Wyr side, and Liam can grow in safety. It’s a breath of fresh air—literally—but their idyllic situation is shattered when Dragos is injured in a freak accident.

Stripped of his memory and bereft of Pia’s taming influence, there’s nothing holding back Dragos’s darkest side. And in order to restore her family and save her mate, Pia must confront the most powerful menace in Elder Races history.

It’s going to take more than a penny to fix this.


Pia and Dragos have decided to move to Drago’s property in upstate New York on a more permanent basis. They want Liam to grow up in the fresh air and open spaces that Manhattan just can’t offer. In order to move the Wyr headquarters upstate, additions need to be made to the sprawling property. The mansion needs some updating, but more importantly, they need housing for the sentinels as well as the security and Drago’s office staff.

As part of the project, the construction crew needs to level the bedrock for the new housing building. When an explosion goes wrong, Dragos is covered in rubble and an angry and injured dragon emerges. It is obvious from his actions that there is more to Drago’s injuries than just the bleeding head wound. The wounded Dragos takes off and Pia must first protect his demesne before she can take off to find her mate.

Pia’s blood has the power to heal but she has to get the wary and cunning dragon to trust her enough to get close. She tries to get his attention with gold and jewels to tempt his acquisitive nature. Dragos doesn’t remember Pia but her scent is stirring something deep down inside him. Dragos is looking at the golden beauty before him and he sees a treasure more valuable than baubles which he wants to keep for himself.

THOUGHTS:
I absolutely love that Thea Harrison has once again brought us a story of Pia and Dragos. This would be the third story that has come back to focus on these major characters of the series. Series either focus on the continuing story of a main character or characters or they focus on a group and each pair gets their day in the sun. It is rare that an author will bring the spotlight back to characters who have already had their story told, and I love that she does this.  I talked with author Thea Harrison just before the Lord’s Fall was released two years ago.

In this series Pia and Dragos are the backbone of this group and obviously they still have a lot of story to be told. Dragos is the most powerful Wyr in existence, no question. See favorite scene from Kinked. In Dragon Bound, he was pushy and domineering to a degree that should have pissed me off, but I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the dynamics of Dragos and Pia and that has only increased as the series progressed and Pia brings out a gentleness that is surprising even to the dragon himself. They are a very dynamic power couple in the paranormal world.

If you are a fan of the series, you have probably already purchased this novella and have finished it and don’t need my review to sway you in any way. But most interesting about this novella, I believe, is that there are several things occurring here that are going to bring interesting, if not major, changes to the series and to the dynamics of the characters.

This is not something that an author of a well liked series does unless they’re desperate or creating a spin off, and especially not in the form of a novella rather than a major novel release.  This is pretty brave shake up on the part of Thea Harrison.  I am absolutely fascinated to see how the ripples created by this novella is going to effect the future stories.

There is one more novella featuring the Cuellebre family coming out this summer and it is Peanut Goes to School. Here is another delightful character in the series who brings a great big question mark about how he will change things. Peanut is the nickname of Pia and Dragos’s son Liam and he is the only other dragon to exist since Dragos was “born” at the creation of the world millennia ago. He is growing at a phenomenal rate, but since there are no other dragons, no one knows what is normal for him. He turns into a tiny baby dragon which is absolutely adorable! Since everything about Peanut’s dragon nature being combined with Pia’s gifts is up in the air, anything can happen. He is a great big surprise and no one knows how he will affect the future of the series.

The other characters and stories have been very entertaining, but the big stars of this series are no question Pia, Dragos and Liam.

If you like paranormal romance and haven’t tried the Elder Races series, you are definitely missing out.

Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

Dragos bent his head and kissed her, softly because their sleeping son nestled between them. His firm, warm lips parted hers, and he dipped his tongue into her mouth in an erotic promise for later. Awash in the love that burned through her veins, she steadied herself by gripping his bicep. With obvious reluctance, he pulled away.

In the fourteen months they had been together, the desire had never changed. Elemental as necessary as breathing, it dictated the rhythm of their lives. They orbited around each other, always looking, always reaching for the other, but it never ceased to amaze her that he looked at her this way.

His brutally handsome face could be so hard, so ruthless, but his need for her always won through. She never doubted what he felt for her. She could see it in everything he did.

You want me, she breathed.

She’d meant to say it in a cocky and flirtatious way, with a wink and a saucy Marilyn Monroe wiggle of the hips. But she forgot to wink, the hip wiggle turned into a slow, needy roll against his, and the words came out breathless and awed.

He rubbed the calloused ball of his thumb across her soft, moistened lips. A dark flush stained his high cheekbones, and his gold eyes glittered. I’ll die before I stop wanting you.

Me too. She closed her eyes at his touch.

They were both immortal Wyr. Maybe, just maybe, that would be long enough to express the depth of what she felt for him.

He kissed her forehead. Here, take Liam.

————–

She glanced down at the top of Liam’s head and said softly, “I’m going to tuck him into his crib.”

Dragos nodded, his expression softening as he looked down at Liam too. “Now that you’re back, I’ll head out to the site. I want to see how much headway they’ve made in the blasting today.”

“Okay.” She smiled at him. “See you later.”

He answered her with a slow, wicked one of his own. “But not too much later. I fancy an early bedtime tonight.”

She watched him walk away, thinking happy, comfortable thoughts. Dinner then bed, and who knew when they would finally fall asleep? They could take their time tonight. They had all the time in the world.

Less than an half an hour later, she would give anything to call him back to her again. Anything to keep him from walking away.

Oh gods, anything.

Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh


ORDER A COPY: Shield of Winter (A Psy/Changeling Novel)

Publisher: Berkley
Publishing Date: June 3, 2014
Hardcover: 448 pages

Rating: 5 stars (Awesome!)


Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness.


Last year’s Heart of Obsidian left us at the dawn of a new Psy world. Kaleb Krychek had declared the fall of Silence as a new way of life for the psy people. There would be no more rehabilitations and no more training out emotions by pain or torture. The psy people would be allowed to once again free to feel love and joy, anger and pain and they would no longer be persecuted for these imperfections. But has the fall of Silence come too late?

There is a virus which is oozing its way through the psy-net and when it finds a weakness, it breaks through into the minds of the unsuspecting psy and is causing madness on a mass scale. And it is not just those who are infected that are suffering. The maddened psy are going on a violent rampage and no one is safe from their attacks, not human, changeling or other psy.

Kaleb believes it is the missing E designation, the ones Silence tried to breed out, that hold the answer to stopping the virus but with 100 years of suppression and hiding, he must first find powerful E’s hiding among the population and then train them how to use the abilities they were always told didn’t exist.

Kaleb brings in the Arrows to help locate his test group of E designation and get them to agree to train with Sascha Duncan. He has made an agreement with the cats and wolves of Dark River and Snow Dancer to create a training camp for the E psy near Sascha and far from an infected site of the psy-net.

Kaleb needs the Arrows not just to locate the E’s but to protect them since not everyone is in agreement that the E’s can save the failing psy-net. There are many who fear that the re-emerging E designation are the cause of the infection itself.

Vasic has been trained as an Arrow since he was four. The Arrows have always worked in the shadows, being used by the now fallen Council as assassins. After two decades of bringing death and pain at the command of those who lied to bloat their own power, Vasic is at the precipice of darkness. He carries too much guilt on his soul and he can’t imagine anything further in his life but his own death. But it is his training and his loyalty to his fellow Arrows, that makes Vasic take the assignment to protect the E’s who he believes will save the psy people.

As the E’s learn and stretch their abilities, an usual side-effect is occurring, the emotional E-psy are bonding with the Arrows and healing the most Silent of the psy race.

Vasic’s charge is Ivy. Ivy was a gradient 9.8 on the scale for the “non-existent” designation of E, and after years of trying to suppress that power, in her late teens she volunteered for rehabilitation only to have her brain nearly butchered. If she can work past the damage done, she could be an asset in repairing the psy-net.

When the man who’s Silence is such a part of him meets the woman who has never been able to submit to the harsh structure, she sees past the blackness in his soul and accepts Vasic shadows and all, and he vows to protect this most precious treasure with his last breath.  But choices Vasic has made on his descent into darkness are coming back to haunt him, and now that he has finally found a measure of peace, he might not be around long enough to enjoy it.

THOUGHTS:
Nalini Singh shows us that gaining freedom is just the beginning. You then need to learn what to do with it. Kaleb Krychek announced the end of Silence, but after 100 years of the protocol, the psy people don’t know what is the next step. The psy were trained not to show feelings so those who survive the attacks by the insane psy are just as afraid of the rescuers as the attackers since showing fear would have gotten you rehabilitation for your flawed Silence. They are also afraid that maybe the announcement was just a way to get the flawed to reveal themselves. There are also those who fear that the fall of Silence and the re-emergence of the E-psy are the reason for the infection through the psy-net so the E’s are constantly under attack.

After 100 years of suppression, these hidden E’s are also being asked to fix an escalating and deadly flaw when they don’t understand the powers that they have and were always told didn’t exist, only to find out that different E-psy have different abilities and they don’t all accomplish the same purpose.

I like the fact that the fall of Silence doesn’t mean just rainbows and puppies. “Great, we’re free to live without fear of failing, but now what?” We see that even Kaleb has to sit down and figure out what needs to be done next after the fall of Silence. Where do they go from here?

As far as Vasic’s story, I find that I have enjoyed most the stories which involved Kaleb, Judd and now Vasic, the three most powerful psy’s who were basically tortured into accepting and being controlled by Silence, but who found a way to break that control for the right woman. I actually thought this would be a story of Vasic and Aden who is his best friend. Even under Silence, there was a strong emotional connection between the two men which shouldn’t have existed under Silence, and we will understand better the two young boys who should have trained against each other and competed against each other, and who grew a bond that made them the strong leaders they are of the Arrows. Aden has been watching Vasic spiral into a depression for the last few years and not knowing how to save his friend.  Even he is amazed by the transformation after only being around Ivy a short time.

Ivy’s complete lack of Silence is why her parents kept her hidden from the net. After the brutal rehabilitation, she managed to reclaim her mind but still couldn’t even maintain a pretense of Silence as many others did. Just Ivy being herself around Vasic is what draws him to her. She doesn’t have to beat at his shields or fight to break him down. She accepts him as he is with his shadows and with his Silence and you see the subtle changes in their relationship in allowing a touch or leaning into her when she speaks or the telepathic contacts which he allows with her. The building bond comes through in simple things like getting Ivy a warmer jacket; as a TK Vasic can pull one from anywhere, but he brings her his jacket. He even learns to accept her dog when Psy don’t keep pets since that would require an emotional connection but it is all done subtly where Vasic is having a conversation with Ivy and picks up the stick to throw for the dog. No fanfare, no big declaration, just a subconscious decision to play with the dog, which is something the well-trained Arrow should never have been able to do.

Psy don’t have sex. They sign conception contracts and use in vitro to make children. It is fun to watch the previously unfelt sexual attraction build between them and the slight fumbling to get it right. Vasic keeps teleporting them out of the room any time things start getting out of control so they need to keep building up things between them.

Especially moving is that this subtle change in Vasic to accept and show affection for Ivy has a rippling effect through the Arrows since for the first time these trained killers and assassins can see that maybe they too can have a regular life some day.  Maybe they aren’t all lost to a dark future in the new world.

This was a very enjoyable story and a wonderful addition to the series. I wasn’t sure where Nalini Singh would take us after Heart of Obsidian, which was a highly anticipated book and tipping point for the series, but there is no disappointment to be had for fans of the series. She is taking us in a whole new direction and it will be a bit of a bumpy and intriguing road for all.

Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

Ivy, Aden said you asked after me.

A crowd of butterflies took flight in her abdomen at the sound of Vasic’s telepathic voice, her nipples going painfully tight in a response that left her breathless. Intellectually, she’d known about sexual attraction—but no one had ever told her that all it would take was the sound of a certain male voice to make her lower body clench, her breasts aching and swelling as her pulse rate rocketed.

She thought of how he’d looked at her the previous night, pure Arrow concentration and ruthless focus, and bit down hard on her lower lip as her mind whispered that she should’ve pushed the strap down instead of pulling it up. Maybe then, he’d have put those strong fingers on her needy flesh.

I just missed you, she said through the sensual storm, unable to see him in the compound.

It was a simple errand, he said after a pause, and a good time to take care of it with Aden free to cover me. I’m walking in from the sentry line.

Heart skipping a beat at the fact her Arrow had actually explained himself to her, as if she had the right to question his movements, she flexed and unflexed her fingers atop his jacket…and then she did something either very brave or so stupid she’d never live down the humiliation. She sent him the erotic visual her mind had created, of her peeling down both straps of her camisole to reveal her breasts.

The silence echoed.

Groaning, she hid her flaming face in her hands. What had possessed her to, to—”Oh, God.”

Ivy…I may have caught an accidental image from your mind.

He was giving her an out. Chest heaving as her blood scalded her skin from the inside out, she grabbed some snow and pressed it to her cheeks. It wasn’t an accident, she admitted before the knots in her stomach tied her up into an incoherent ball. It was for you.

Vasic remained on his knees in the snow where he’d fallen when the picture of Ivy had slammed into his mind. It might as well have been a roundhouse punch to the jaw, his head was spinning so hard, his heartbeat erratic and a roar of blood in his ears.

It was for you.

No one had ever just given him something he wanted so much. Even though he knew he should erase the image from his mind, that it went against every one of the rules that helped him stay sane, stay stable, he opened it again. This time, the punch hit him directly in the solar plexus.

She was all shy smile and a peach-colored blush as she tugged down the straps of her top to reveal plump breasts topped with dusky pink nipples. The flesh of her breasts was a creamier shade than the skin of her shoulders, and he knew it’d mark easily Unable to resist, he ran a mental finger over one of those nipples, felt his rigid penis throb. The line of her neck drew his gaze, the curve of her shoulder, the slenderness of her arms. The lush softness of her lips.

Overwhelmed and incapable of processing the sensory input, he did the only thing he could: He shut it all down with jaw-clenched focus, sense by sense. It took several minutes, but he had both body and mind under control when he rose to his feet—after using a handful of clean snow to wash the sweat off his face and the back of his neck.

Then, instead of reprimanding Ivy for doing something that had cut his legs out from under him, he said, Thank you. He wasn’t going to erase that image. Not now, not ever. It was his.

No one could take it from him now, steal the piece of herself she’d handed him. He would keep it in his private mental file of all things Ivy Jane, and he’d look at it any time he needed an instant of beauty in the darkness.

How to Seduce a Vampire (Without Really Trying) by Kerrelyn Sparks


ORDER A COPY: How to Seduce a Vampire (Without Really Trying) (Love at Stake)

Publisher: Avon
Publishing Date: April 29, 2014
Paperback: 384 pages

Rating: 3 stars


Vampire Zoltan Czakvar is on the hunt for the truth about his father’s death. He’s been searching for a very long time—since 1241, in fact. And he is not about to give up, even when he’s attacked by a woman with striking blue eyes and a hell of a right hook!

Neona is also on the hunt. She’s looking for a mate, and she thinks muscled Zoltan will work just fine. After all, men are good for only one thing. Soon, though, she realizes there’s more to this handsome vampire than just sexual prowess. But she’s keeping a secret from Zoltan, something so big that it will rock the vampire world.

Can their new found love survive . . . even if their passion means the destruction of her world?


Zoltan Czakvar has been a vampire and Coven Master for over 800 years, and his day to day has become so routine…meetings, castle tours. The only excitement in his life right now is Howard’s wife, Elsa and her crew are renovating some of the more rundown areas of his castle in Transylvania.

Even though he has always known about vampires (it is Transylvania, after all), Zoltan never aspired to become one. It was only after his mother died, and his father was killed, that Zoltan sought out his sire. He needed to find who had killed his father, but after years of searching, he hadn’t found any answers and he needed to stay strong, young and healthy until he had some answers. That was in 1241. Zoltan is pretty sure whoever the assassin was is long dead, but he still stares at the arrow on his wall and dreams he would someday find an answer.

When Russell shows up at Zoltan’s castle carrying an arrow that has the same markings on it, Zoltan follows Russell back to Asia. But Tibet was the last place, he expected to find his father’s killer. Zoltan spent his time searching most of eastern Europe, but never expected someone to come halfway around the world to kill a man in Transylvania.

What he finds in the small village in the hidden valley in the Himalaya creates more questions than answers, including why do some of these warriors have the ability to talk to animals just like Zoltan and his mother could. This small group of warrior women are protecting some secret. Something important enough to kill anyone getting close enough to their valley to protect. When Zoltan tries to approach Neoma outside of the village walls to get some answers, she attacks him, but not with plans to kill him…at least not right away. Neoma wants Zoltan to father a child for her, and then she promises to release him after he gets the job done. As a vampire, Zoltan can’t father children, but he is not sure that this is a good time to mention that little bit of information. Not if he wants to live another day.

And Zoltan needs to survive if he wants to solve the mystery of what these women are protecting and what they had to do with his father’s death. As Zoltan starts to lose his heart to Neoma, he is begins to fear that she might have had been responsible for his father’s death…800 years ago.

THOUGHTS:
I can’t explain to you how much it pains me to say bad things about one of my favorite authors, but I didn’t like this story at all. I read several glowing reviews of the story so maybe it is just me.  Once I thought about the series, I find that the stories I don’t like as much involved other mythical creatures rather than just the vampire/human, vampire/shifter and shifter/human romances. Among my non-favorites are Connor’s story with the fallen death angel; Howard’s story and although I like Elsa’s job on the renovation show, I wasn’t into her and the Aunt’s and their mystical powers, and now Zoltan and his warrior girlfriend.

Things I found distracting about the story included the fact that although Neoma was taught English at some point in her life, it has been decades since she spoke English with anyone, and yet she had no problem jumping right into a conversation with Zoltan.  Plus, she was born and lived in this hidden valley for a long, long time, but she had no problem following slang and not being freaked out by Zoltan’s sat phone, etc. They still cook over an open fire in a single clay pot but she didn’t question him making a phone call? I know that I am reading a vampire book, but characters and the story plot need to be conceivable within the world she created.

Without ruining the plot for anyone, I was bothered by a big “what comes first: the chicken or the egg” problem with the story plot and the ending leaves some big questions for the future of the series.

So after weeks holding onto my ARC copy until this popped to the top of my TBR list, I was so disappointed in this story. So after I have a good cry for saying mean things about Kerrelyn Sparks’ hard work, and I am going to sneak in a re-read of Roman’s or Gregori’s story (my favorites) to remind myself why I like this series so much.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

He eyed the woman. She was sitting quietly beside him, biting her lip. Nervous. That was a good sign. He didn’t want to think that she did this sort of thing often. “Did I hear you correctly? You want my seed?”

Her cheeks flushed slightly, but she looked him in the eye. “Yes.”

“Was this your plan all along? Knock me out, tie me up, and rape me?”

She winced. “It’s not rape.”

“What else would you call it when you forcibly plan to take my seed?”

“I figured you would be willing.”

“To be raped?”

She grimaced. “It’s not rape as long as you agree.”

“What if I don’t agree?”

She looked dumbfounded for a moment. “I thought men always were agreeable.”

His hands fisted tightly around the rope as an unexpected surge of anger skittered through him. How many agreeable men had she found over the years? Probably plenty. What red-blooded male wouldn’t agree to letting a beautiful woman ravish him in the woods? Dammit.

He took a deep breath. Stay in control. “Before I can consider your offer, I have to know exactly what you expect of me.”

Her gaze drifted to his groin. “I thought it was obvious.”

“On the contrary, there are numerous issues that must be addressed.” Thankfully, her gaze returned to his face. He didn’t want her to notice the growing bulge in his pants.

She frowned. “Issues?”

“Yes. For instance, how long will I be required to performed? Will I receive compensation for any injuries incurred during the act?”

Her eyes widened. “Injuries?”

“It happens. I’ve been known to get terribly wild. Fortunately, you appear to be in excellent health, so you should survive the ordeal. Do you mind signing a waiver?” He enjoyed the growing expression of horror on her face. “Which position do you want to use? Or do you prefer multiple positions? How many times to you wish to climax?”

Her mouth dropped open. Then she shook herself and glared at him. “Ten.”

He blinked. Was she calling his bluff? “Ten what? Positions or climaxes?”

She hesitated a second, then lifted her chin. “Both.”

He stifled a laugh. She wasn’t letting him get the better of her.

Jerk, the leopard grumbled. Stop playing cat and mouse with her.

Zoltan glanced up and spotted the cat lounging on the branch of a nearby oak tree. You were supposed to leave.

It thumped its tail on the branch. I’ll leave when I feel like it.

Does she jump men like this every night? Zoltan asked.

What do you think? The leopard narrowed its eyes. Look who’s jealous now.

I’m not— Was he? Zoltan pushed that thought aside and turned back to the woman. “Are you sure you can handle ten climaxes?”

She shrugged. “Are you sure you can deliver?”

He smiled, enjoying the way she stood up to him. “I’ll do my best. But it might take an hour or so, depending on–”

“Oh, no!” We must be quicker than that. No more than five minutes at the most. In fact, we had better start right away before Freddie and the others find us.”

Another jab of anger shot through him. “Freddy? Who the hell is he?”

“Freddie’s not–”

“Not tied to a tree, is he? Was he last night’s five-minute conquest?”

Her mouth dropped open.

How jealous can you get? The leopard eyed him with disdain.

I’m not! Shit. He was. Jealous of the unknown lovers of a woman he’d barely met. He must be going insane.

Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston

Bite Me (Pride, #9)


ORDER A COPY: Bite Me (The Pride Series)

Publisher: Brava
Publishing Date: March 25, 2014
Paperback: 382 pages

Rating: 5 stars


Livy Kowalski has no time for idiots. When you shapeshift into a honey badger, getting through life’s irritants is a finely honed skill. Until she gets stuck housing her nutso cousin and dealing with her dad’s untimely and unexplained demise.

That’s where Vic Barinov comes in—or his house does. Vic can’t step outside without coming back to find Livy devouring his honey stash and getting the TV remote sticky. It gets his animal instincts all riled up. But he’ll have to woo her at high speed: all hell is breaking loose, and Livy is leading the charge.


Livy Kowalski is petite, shapely, vicious and all Honey Badger in Shelly Laurenston’s latest book in the Pride series.

Livy’s family is disappointed by her. From the cradle she has been taught by her family how to steal, how to pick locks, how to appraise valuables and instead of stealing art, Livy wants to waste her time  creating it. Her art is everything to Livy but with a big show coming up, and she feels like her art has dried up and if a dry spell isn’t bad enough, somehow she has been dragged in to shoot the wedding of Bo Novikov and Blayne Thorpe. Artist to wedding photographer, could things get any worse.

Oh, but they can. Someone let her cousin Melly out of prison a few months early. It seems you can get good behavior even if you fake your own kidnapping to get more attention from your boyfriend. And now Melly has decided to move into Livy’s place for now. So going home is not an option.

And that’s why Vic has found Livy hiding up in his kitchen cabinet eating the rest of his honey. He wouldn’t mind so much if she used the key he gave her, but she keeps digging holes into the side of his house and the shifter-contractors are starting the jack the price up for fixing them.

Vic is more like his laid back bear father than his tiger mother, and like most hybrids, he has a few quirks of his own. But it’s his laid back nature that makes him able to roll with Livy’s volatile and usually violent nature. She’s not one for sharing anything–emotions, feelings, thoughts…honey, yet Vic is always there when she needs him.

Vic has been sent to find Frankie Whitlan, the man who has been organizing shifter hunts.   He asks Livy to use her B&E skills to break into Allison Whitlan’s apartment to see if her father has contacted her. Livy finds something in that apartment that has her seeking out the family that she usually avoids, but Vic can’t get her to open up.

After weekend trip to the bear town of Honeyville (yeah, they know it’s quaint) to gorge on some gourmet honey and do a little jousting (yes, I said jousting), Livy finally confesses what she found in that apartment and it is enough to anger every shifter so that they agree to work with the honey badgers to bring in Whitlan to finally face shifter justice.

THOUGHTS:
What I love best about Shelly Laurenston’s shifter series is how true to the animal nature she keeps the characters. The bears are either laid back or loners or aggressive, depending on the type of bear. The cats are sultry and protective. The wolves stick with packs. The honey badgers are all petite and aggressive and nothing says party like a backyard full of poisonous snakes.

I love the introduction of Vic’s new partner, Shen, who is very laid back and always snacking on bamboo.

This book could be read as a stand alone, but there are many past characters who show up in this story that you won’t understand the relationships if this is your first Pride book. We even get a surprise Smith showing up.   And it is more fun when you understand that the Smith’s are the hillbilly/moonshine running wolf pack vs. the rich and powerful Van Holtz wolf pack vs. the prodigy-filled jackal family.

There is a lot of wit mixed in this paranormal series and the pack, pride or clan being featured has a lot to do with how the story goes.

Shelly Laurenston offers a lot of fun for anyone looking for a lighthearted paranormal series.

Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

(Livy and Vic attend a Renaissance Faire in the bear town of Honeyville, and Livy decides to work out some of her aggression by jousting.)

Livy stared up at the horse one of the faire employees held for her. She glanced over and said, “You can’t be serious.”

“These are horses bred for two things. Handling the weight of big guys in armor…and not panicking at the scent of shifters. Helping some tiny feminist trying to prove something was not on our list of things to accomplish during the breeding process,” he finished.

Livy looked under the horse and asked, “Huh. What’s this? It looks bad.”

The faire employee bent down to see what Livy was looking at and that’s when she rammed the pummel of her sword into the employee’s tibia. She heard something snap, and he went down with a roar onto one knee. Before he could fall back, Livy climbed onto his shoulders and mounted the horse that was way too big for her.

She looked down at the now-sobbing bear. “Thanks for the help.”

Vic walked into the prep area and stopped when he saw her.

“Have you ever ridden a horse before?” he asked.

“No. There were horses at the private school I went to. Riding lessons were mandatory and were part of our gym grade, but every time I got close to them, the horses tried to stomp me into the ground. Eventually, I had to be excused.”

“But now you’re going to ride one that’s too big for you so you can…joust?”

“That’s the plan.” Someone put a lance in her hand. It was heavy and too long, but livy held on to it. “How do I look?” she asked again.

“Suicidal.”

“If you’re going to be negative…”

Livy moved around in the saddle.

“What?” Vic asked.

“I wish I didn’t have to wear this armor. It’s making my skin itch.”

“Take that armor off, female, and still try to joust, and I’ll beat you to death myself.”

Livy nodded. “Subtle.”

“I’m not subtle. Never said I was subtle. Worried you’re about to do something stupid? Yes. That is accurate.”

“Honey Badger’s up!” someone called out.

“I’m up.” Livy stared at the back of the horse’s head. “You can go now,” she told the beast.

Vic dropped his head into his hands.

Chuckling, she tapped the sides of the horse’s flanks with her heels and rode to the field. True, she might not have ridden the horses at her fancy private school, but that didn’t mean the gym teacher wasn’t a bitch who hated Livy so much she made the fourteen-year-old sit and watch the others for the entire period. At the time, Livy hated Mrs. Webb, but at the moment, she’d discovered a new found appreciation.

Once Livy was led into position, she looked around at the crowd. The faire was surprisingly big and had a lot of attendees. Even the cats from the town next door came to the Honeyville Annual Renaissance Faire.

And apparently the joust was the most popular attraction; the makeshift arena was already packed, with the audience continuing to grow.

“Honey stick?”

A seven-foot older grizzly stood next to her, his face obscured by an enormous beard and long brown and gray hair. Another hippie, she was guessing. Like Rita.

Livy took the offered honey stick, bit off the tip, and sucked out the honey inside while the grizzly studied her a moment before asking, “I know you honey badgers are tough and all, but you do know that we’re going to crush your tiny little body into the dirt, don’t ya?”

“Yeah. I know that.”

“You don’t mind?”

“Not as much as I probably should.” She shrugged. “Trying to work out some issues.”

“Ahhh. I see.” The grizzly leaned in. “Well, me and the guys had a thought. You see, the reason we have this first night of jousting is because we always have to work through the cats from next door before we can get to a good rousing joust with the rest of us. The felines bring a lot of money to this faire, so we put up with ‘em. But it gets a bit boring.”

Livy again looked around at the audience, which was still growing…with bears.

“You want me to take out the cats…don’t you?” Livy asked.

“Cat humiliation and bear entertainment all rolled in one. Think you can do that?”

“What do I get out of it?” Because at the end of the day, Livy was still her mother’s daughter.

“Year’s supply of your favorite honey from Rita’s story?”

Livy immediately thought of the cinnamon-infused honey and she sort of shuddered. A good shudder, though. A delicious, honey-filled shudder.

“I’m in.”

The grizzly patted her leg. “Have fun, sweetie.”

Livy planned to…

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, #3)


ORDER A COPY: Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, Book 3)

Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: January 2, 2008
Paperback: 287 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape – but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it’s up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not.

Mercy’s loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not known for their patience, and if Mercy can’t decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her.


Mercy Thompson has always tried to keep out of the way of other preternatural creatures. When you know that goes bump in the night, you know it is best not to let them notice you. Growing up in a werewolf pack, Mercy has always been in and around pack business. Recent events have caused Mercy to now owe favors to the vampires and to the fae and she is making a lot of friends and enemies with both groups. The vampires calling in that favor didn’t go so well for Mercy, so what makes her think helping out the fae would be any better?

The Grimm brothers had it right. Fae are not nice creatures and everything they do comes with a price.

Uncle Mike and Zee, Mercy’s friend and mentor, have asked for Mercy’s help to find out who has been killing fae on the fae reservation. In her coyote form, Mercy’s nose can pick up the scent of anyone who has been at all the crime scenes. Except Mercy’s immunity to some magic allows her to see some things on the reservation that the fae don’t want outsiders to know about.

When Mercy points out the killer, Uncle Mike and Zee go to have a talk with him (fae code for make him disappear forever) only to find out someone beat them to it. Someone with enough strength to rip off a man’s head. Surprising the police arrive at the door just as Zee and Uncle Mike arrive and Zee is arrested for murder.

The Grey Lords who rule over the fae are more than willing to sacrifice Zee to the humans so that no more attentions is focused in on the fae, but Mercy is not willing to sacrifice her friend and let the real killer go free and the Grey Lords aren’t very happy with Mercy’s decision to get in their way.

THOUGHTS:
I am really getting into this series, but this was a much darker story than the two prior books. In the last one Mercy is helping the vampires but learning things that the vampires don’t want her to know, like how to kill a vamp. In this one Mercy is learning too much about the secretive and mysterious fae. Vampires each have different gifts and abilities, but that is nothing to the broad spectrum of the fae.

Even Zee becomes angry with Mercy in this story, but whether it is because she is drawing the attention of the Grey Lords by fighting Zee’s imprisonment or whether he is angry because Mercy tells fae secrets to the attorney she hires, Mercy isn’t sure.  When Zee calls due the note on the garage (which is a serious fae spit-in-the-face), Mercy is heartbroken that she has lost her friend and mentor.

It is a much darker story since Mercy does not get away unscathed from this adventure.  Fae magic is used against her in the most brutal way. This leads to anxiety attacks and PTSD issues in the next story. She is now being watched by the Vampire Mistress and the Grey Lords and being under the protection of the wolves may no longer be enough to keep Mercy safe.


Favorite Scene:

“You are telling me that Zee went to O’Donnell’s house to murder him?”

I took a deep breath. “You aren’t going to understand this. You don’t know the fae, not really. Imprisoning a fae is…impractical. First of all, it’s damned difficult. Holding a person is hard enough. Holding a fae for any time at all, if he doesn’t want to be held, is near impossible. Even without that, a life sentence is highly impractical when fae can live for hundreds of years.” Or a lot more, but the public didn’t know that. “And when you let them go, they aren’t likely to shrug it off as justice served. The fae are a vengeance-hungry race. If you imprison a fae, for whatever reason, you’d better be dead when he gets out or you’ll wish you were. Human justice just isn’t equipped to deal with the fae, so they take care of it. A fae who commits a serious crime—like murder—is simply executed on the spot.” The werewolves did the same.

She pinched the bridge of her nose as if I were giving her a headache.

“O’Donnell wasn’t fae. He was human.”

I thought about trying to explain why a people who were used to dealing out their own justice would care less that the perpetrator was human, but decided it was pointless. “The fact remains that Zee did not kill O’Donnell Someone got there first.”

Her bland face didn’t indicate belief, so I asked, “Do you know the story of Thomas the Rhymer?”

“True Thomas? It’s a fairy tale,” she said. “A prototype of Irving’s ‘Rip Van Winkle.’”

“Uhm,” I said. “Actually, I’m under the impression that it was mostly a true story, Thomas’s I mean. Thomas was, at any rate, a real historical person, a noted political entity of the thirteenth century. He claimed that he’d been caught for seven years by the queen of the fairies, then allowed to return. He either asked the fairy queen for a sign that he could show his kin so they would believe him when he told them where he’d been, or he stole a kiss form the fairy queen. Whatever the reason, he was given a gift, and like most fairy gifts, it was more curse than blessing—the fairy queen rendered him incapable of lying. For a diplomat or a lover or a businessman, that was a cruel thing to do, but the fae are often cruel.”

“Your point?”

She didn’t sound happy. I guess she didn’t like thinking any of the fairy tales were true. It was a common attitude.

People could believe in the fae, but fairy tales were fairy tales. Only children would really believe in them.

It was an attitude that the fae themselves promoted. In most folktales, the fae are not exactly friendly. Take Hansel and Gretel, for instance. Zee once told me that there are a lot of fae in the rez, if left to their preferred diets, would happily eat people…especially children.

“He was cursed to become like the fae themselves,” I told her. “Most fae, including Zee, cannot tell a lie. They are very, very good at making you think they are saying one thing, when they mean another, but they cannot lie.”

“Everyone can lie.”

I smiled at her tightly. “The fae cannot. I don’t know why. They can do the damnedest things with the truth, but they cannot lie.”

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1)


ORDER A COPY: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1)

Publisher: Penguin Group
Publishing Date: January 31, 2006
Paperback: 288 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water.


Mercy is a “walker” who can turn into a coyote, but who was raised by werewolves, and not just any werewolf, by Bran, the Marrok (or leader of all the werewolves).

Mercy lives an ordinary life, well, sort of…she owns her own garage which she bought from a retiring Fae named Zee, and she is friends with a vampire named Stefan who has a VW bus painted to look like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo.

She also shares a property line with the local Alpha of the Columbia Basin pack named Adam Hauptman and his teenage daughter, Jesse.  Adam keeps a powerful Russian witch on retainer for hiding the werewolf’s presence from the humans. Pretty much an average, ordinary life.

When a runaway teen shows up at her garage, she quickly smells that he is a werewolf and this young werewolf is not part of a pack. Mercy offers him a job so she can keep an eye out for him. When a werewolf and a human come looking for him, Mercy is forced to help him defend himself. After blood is shed, Mercy calls Adam in to take care of the young Wolf and introduce him to pack life.

But things aren’t that simple. The people who are looking for Mac are daring, or just stupid enough to attack Adam in his home. Mercy helps Adam defeat the intruders, but not before Adam is seriously injured and his daughter, Jesse, is kidnapped. Mercy needs to find a more dominant werewolf fast because once Adam regains consciousness, his injured wolf will be uncontrollable until he is healed. The only ones Mercy knows that are strong enough to control a powerful Alpha like Adam is Bran and his sons.

Mercy might not be part of Adam’s pack, but she is now embroiled in what might be a pack war. She has to find out who attacked Adam and who would have taken his daughter.

THOUGHTS:
I was recently offered a review copy of the upcoming Night Broken (which is Book #8 in this series) so I did a search of the Mercy Thompson series and it sounded right up my alley.  I decided to take some time to catch up and get to know some of the characters.

This is a much better Sookie Stackhouse type of story plot, meaning she is not part of any specific group, but she keeps getting dragged into pack or vampire business. In this series, Mercy is a preternatural creature since she is half human/half walker. She is immune to some magic and she can shape shift into the form of a coyote. She is not a part of Adam’s pack (even though Adam told his pack Mercy was his) but she gets drawn into pack business when Adam is badly injured, and something makes her afraid to call in his pack for fear that there is a traitor in the pack. Who else would try to attack an Alpha in his own home?

She has several preternatural connections who she contacts to assist her in helping Adam heal as well as tracking down who would abduct his daughter.

I like that although Mercy is brave, she is not stupid. She doesn’t just jump into a fight unprepared. For example, when Mac is tracked down by a werewolf and a human. Mercy knows she can’t out power the werewolf and the human has a gun. She watches and observes and it isn’t until Mac is being attacked that she jumps in, using the element of surprise and getting the werewolf to chase her while using her brains to outmaneuver his bulk.

This story wasn’t non-stop action since it was the first in the series and involves a lot of introduction of characters, including explaining the dangers of the werewolves and the vampires in general, and how the Fae have been forced into the public eye and how the werewolves are considering joining them. We are also introducing the base characters of the story: including Mercy, Adam, Jesse, Zee, Stefan, Bran, Samuel, several members of Adam’s pack as well as Bran’s pack, and Mercy’s relationship with each of these characters.

It was good storytelling and interesting world building and it held my interest throughout. I have already started Book 2 where we start by Stefan asking Mercy to make good on the favor he did her helping find Jesse.

Personally, I think Olivia Wilde would be a perfect Mercy Thompson.  Can someone get casting on the phone?


Favorite Scene:

“What happened?” he asked, his voice softer than the first snowfall in winter.

“It’s complicated,” I said, holding his gaze for two full seconds before I turned my head and gestured toward the body. “The dead one is there. If he belongs to you, he is new—and you haven’t been doing your job. He was as deaf and blind as a human. I was able to take him by surprise, then he was too ignorant to realize that the wound wouldn’t close as fast as usual if it was given by a preternatural creature. He let himself bleed out because he was too caught up in the chase to—”

“Enough, Mercedes,” he growled as he strode over to the dead wolfman and knelt beside him. He moved the body and one of the corpse’s arms flopped down limply on the ground.

Mac whined eagerly, then bowed his head and pressed it against my thigh so that he couldn’t see.

The sound drew Adam’s attention from the body to the boy at my feet.

He growled. “This one isn’t one of mine—and neither is that.”

“So gracious,” I said. “Your mother should be complimented on your manners, Hauptman.”

“Careful,” he whispered. It wasn’t a threat, it was a warning.

Okay. He was scary. Really scary. He’d probably have been scary even when he was just a human. But it wouldn’t do to let him know he intimidated me.

“Adam Hauptman,” I said politely to show him how it was done. “Allow me to introduce you to Mac—that’s all his name I know. He was attacked by a werewolf in Chicago about two moons ago. The werewolf killed his girlfriend, but he survived. He was taken by his attacker and put in a cage. A man who sounds a lot like the Chicago Alpha Leo sold him to someone who held him inside a cage in a semitrailer and used him for what sounds like some sort of drug experiments until he broke free. Last Friday he showed up at my door looking for work.”

“You didn’t inform me that you had a strange wolf on your doorstep?”

I gave him a put-upon sigh. “I am not one of your pack members, Adam. I know this is difficult for you to fathom, so I’ll speak slowly: I don’t belong to you. I am under no obligation to tell you anything.”

Adam swore harshly. “New werewolves are dangerous, woman. Especially when they are cold and hungry.” He looked at Mac, and his voice changed completely, the heat and anger gone. “Mercy, come here.”

I didn’t look down to see what he’d noticed in Mac’s face. I took a step, but Mac was wrapped around my left leg. I stopped before I fell. “Uhm. I’m a little stuck for the moment.”

“For a smart girl, you’re pretty stupid sometimes,” he said, his voice rich and gentle so as not to startle the werewolf by my side. “Locking yourself in a garage with a new wolf and a dead body isn’t the smartest thing you could have done. I don’t have a connection with him yet. It would help if you have his real name.”

“Mac,” I murmured. “What’s your name?”

“Alan,” he said dreamily, coming up to his knees so his face was pressed against my belly. “Alan MacKenzie Frazier after my grandfather who died the year I was born.” The friction of his movement rucked my shirt up and he licked my bare skin. To an outsider it might have looked sensual, but the abdomen is a vulnerable spot on the body, a favorite of predators. “You smell good,” he whispered.

He smelled like werewolf, and I started to panic—which wasn’t a very useful thing to do.

“Alan,” said Adam, rolling the name on his tongue. “Alan MacKenzie Frazier, come here to me.”

Mac jerked his head away from me but tightened his arms painfully on my hips. He looked at Adam and growled, a low rumble that caused his chest to vibrate against my leg.

“Mine,” he said.

Adam’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t think so. She is mine.”

It would have been flattering, I thought, except that at least one of them was talking about dinner and I wasn’t certain about the other. While Adam had Mac distracted, I reached behind me and grabbed my big crowbar from the shelf directly behind us. I brought it down on Mac’s collarbone.

It was an awkward hit because I didn’t have much leverage, but the collarbone, even on a werewolf, is not hard to damage. I heard the bone crack and wrenched myself out of Mac’s grip and across the garage before he recovered from the unexpected pain.

I didn’t like hurting him, but he would heal in a few hours as long as I didn’t let him eat me. I didn’t think he was the kind of person who would recover from murder as easily as he would a broken bone.

Unclaimed by Sara Humphreys

Unclaimed (The Amoveo Legend, #5)


ORDER A COPY: Unclaimed (The Amoveo Legend)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publishing Date: December 3, 2013
Paperback: 320 pages

Rating: 3 stars


Tatiana Winters loves the freedom of her life as a veterinarian in Oregon. It’s only reluctantly that she agrees to help cure a mysterious illness among the horses on a Montana ranch—the ranch of the Amoveo Prince. Tatiana is no ordinary vet—she’s a hybrid from the Timber Wolf Clan, but she wants nothing to do with the world of the Amoveo shifters.

Dominic Trejada serves as a Guardian, one of the elite protectors of the Prince’s Montana ranch. As a dedicated Amoveo warrior, he is desperate to find his mate, and time is running out. He knows Tatiana is the one—but if he can’t convince her, he may not be able to protect her from the evil that’s rapidly closing in.


Tatiana Winters and her twin brother, Raife, were raised by the same foster mother as Layla Nickelsen. All three are half-human/half-Amoveo and they promised to protect each other from the Amoveo and stay out of their world. Even though Layla has since found happiness with her Amoveo mate, William Fleury, Tatiana was doing everything to avoid the Amoveo male who is seeking her in her dreams. She refuses to let fate dictate who she can love. She just wants to stay quietly in her Oregon home, caring for sick animals. It is only her love for Layla that can get Tatiana to agree to go anywhere near the home of the Amoveo Prince to determine if someone is trying to kill the Prince’s horses.

Once Tatiana arrives on the property, she immediately realizes her error. The man she has been trying to avoid in her dreams is standing right in front of her and from the look in his eyes, he knows exactly who she is. He might be tall, dark and gorgeous and he might be making her tingle in all the right places, but she is not fool enough to think that an Amoveo male like Dominic is going to agree to some hot sex and let her walk away from him.

Dominic is finding his loyalties being torn between his duty as guardian to the Prince and protecting his mate now that he has found her. Although he may war between his own duty and his desire to claim his mate, he is not going to let an opportunity to be with Tatiana pass him by. Just when Tatiana is ready to submit to a night of passion in Dominic’s arms, they all find themselves in the midst of a war but with the enemy hiding in the shadows, it is hard to protect the ones you love when you don’t know if you are being attacked by an enemies or someone you thought as a friend?

THOUGHTS:
I have enjoyed this series. I have enjoyed the characters Sara Humphreys has created and some of the interesting twists that she has introduced. I even enjoyed the new characters introduced in her new vampire series. This book just rubbed me the wrong way.

I will start by reminding you that in the last book, Undone, the Amoveo were fighting the humans who wanted to wipe out the Amoveo “animals,” but now they had the Purists, who didn’t want the half-breeds mating with the full-bred Amoveo and polluting the bloodlines to contend with. The Purists were kidnapping selected full-blooded Amoveo women and trying to impregnate them with sperm from full-blooded males to help increase the dying Amoveo population. Mariana was rescued from this facility before she was experimented on, but upon rescuing the women (most of whom died from bearing children not from their mates) they also found Steven (from Book #1 and #2) and his mate who had been experimented on and impregnated with his sperm.

Steve and Courtney are a big part of this story. From conversations with the author, I thought I understood that Steven’s story would be the last of the series. I honestly checked Goodreads twice to see if I had missed Steven’s story. It wasn’t until the very, very end that I understood why they were introduced as a couple before their own story was released, but it bugged me the entire story that this couple was focused on without having their story. By the time I understood why, I had been annoyed by this the entire time I was reading.

I was also pretty confused by why the Prince and his family, especially during a time of civil war, only had two guards for his entire property. His prior guard, Dominic’s sister, left for the purist cause. Although all the characters from the prior books showed up to help defend against the assault, they were not as powerful as some of the Purist leaders and number-wise, a civil war shouldn’t come down to about 9 guys on each side. That’s not a war, that’s a baseball game.

We also find out that the purist are all fighting in rags and living in the woods since their research facility was destroyed. What the heck? These purists were made up of some of the more powerful families and being shifters, who live longer than humans, and has plenty of time to amass a fortune. That not-very-secret facility must have cost a pretty penny if they were all poverty stricken now that it was destroyed.

There were too few good guys defending the Prince, including the Prince doing his own fighting, and too many enemies with too many issues. On top of all the chaos, we are trying to balance the romance storyline where the Dominic and Tatiana sizzled when they came near each other, but neither one wanted to upset their lives with the commitment of mating,, even though by not mating they would both lose their Avoveo powers.

All of her stories, this one just didn’t grab me.

Received ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

Tatiana strode toward the back of the cabin and tugged open the glass sliders. She stepped out onto the small deck and leaned on the railing. Dominic’s gaze skimmed up her well-shaped legs, which were bronzed from the summer sun, then wandered along the curve of her hip and up her toned arms.

Images of her naked body curled around his flooded his mind…

“Can we swim in that pond?” She looked at him over her shoulder and smirked as she caught him checking her out.

“What?” He blinked and shook his head, but those images of her still wandered through his imagination. “I’m sorry. What?”

“Dominic?” Smiling, she looked back out to the mirrorlike body of water in the distance. “That pond? Can we swim in it?”

“It’s not a pond, actually. It’s a swimming pool.” He moved closer so he stood next to her, but not close enough to accidentally touch her. “It’s a freshwater swimming pool complete with heat in the winter and lights at night. Salinda had it designed to look like a pond so it wouldn’t ruin the natural landscape.”

Heat radiated form her body, and even amid the thick summer air, he could feel it rippling over him like a siren song. Calling him. Daring him to touch her again. Tempting him to break the stupid deal he made with her, throw her on the ground, and kiss her silly.

Why did he make that deal? That was the dumbest fucking move ever.

Dominic tightened his grip on the railing and squared his shoulders against the all-consuming urge to stroke that gorgeous skin. Instead, he focused on the setting sun and grit his teeth against the driving physical need to connect with her.

“Are you alright?” Tatiana’s voice, soft and delicate, drifted over him with the breeze.

“No,” he said, his voice tight with restraint. Dominic looked down into those huge brown eyes, and he knew he was a goner. “I’m not alright. Not at all.”

Without thinking he brushed a lock of dark hair off her forehead, and as her warm skin rushed beneath his fingertips, a wave of static electricity rippled up his arm and shot through his body. Her eyes widened, and those red lips that tasted like cherries, parted temptingly as she sucked in a slow, quivering breath.

“I’m doing my best to be a gentlemen and keep my word,” he whispered as he trailed one finger along her jawline. Her body wavered closer, her eyes searched his for answers, but none came as the ripples of nerve tingling electric slowed. “I have a feeling I’m going to welsh on our deal.”

“I think we should try to stay clear of each other,” Tatiana murmured. She nodded slowly. Her tongue darted out, moistening her plump lower lip.

“It’s really the best way to handle this situation. Neither of us wants a mate, so the smart thing to do would be to forget it. We still have free will. Don’t we?”

Tatiana inched nearer in spite of what she was saying. Her hand brushed his as it curled along the weather wood railing, and that same zapping sensation fired through his body. An odd buzzing filled Dominic’s head as their energy signatures whipped through the air like an invisible tornado, dancing around them like a whirling dervish. The buzzing reached a crescendo, and with one final pass, their energy waves merged with a jolt.

Tatiana cried out in surprise and stepped back, but Dominic linked one arm around her waist and pulled her up against him. Her hands gripped his shoulders, and although she didn’t push him away, she gaped at him like a deer in the headlights.

“Wha–what was that?” She asked breathlessly, her voice edged with fear. “I don’t think I can handle this.”

“I’m no entirely sure, but I think our energy signatures merged, and we’ve imprinted on each other. There is one thing I am sure of.” Dominic kissed the corner of her mouth and murmured against her cheek. “The only woman I’m looking to handle…is you.”

A Cursed Moon by Cecy Robson

A Cursed Moon (Weird Girls, #2.5)


ORDER A COPY: A Cursed Moon: A Weird Girls Novella (A Penguin Special from Signet Eclipse)

Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: December 3, 2013
Paperback: 217 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Meet the furry big brother that the Wird sisters never had…

Bren is a cocky, brash hound of a werewolf who loathes the idea of belonging to Aric’s pack—much less finding a mate. But Bren’s hotheaded behavior lands him in the doghouse when he defies Aric’s authority in front of his pack, bringing up a sore subject that’s bound to make the Alpha wolf’s blood boil…

Luckily for him, no one can stay mad at Bren and his wild charm for long. And when some frightening ghosts launch a hostile paranormal takeover, Bren will team up with Celia to take down the evil ghouls before they hurt someone they both love…


Bren is a lone wolf—or werewolf that is. He has been without a pack since his parents died when he was a kid and the elder’s wouldn’t allow him to join his father’s pack. Bren is okay with that because his “pack” consists of the people who matter to him: his roommate, Dan and Celia Wird and her sisters. They are the only people he can count on, the only people he can trust, and the only people he would die to protect.

And to protect those he loves against the growing danger from the demons and the witches of The Tribe that keep calling together the evilest of supernaturals, he would even agree to join Aric’s pack, even though the pure-blooded bastard broke Celia’s heart.

That doesn’t mean he is going to play by Aric’s rules like a good little pup. Bren’s mouth has a habit of writing checks his ass can’t cash and mouthing off to an alpha-were might not always be the best way to show that you are willing to be part of the pack.

When their friend Dan is kidnapped by soul-sucking ghouls, Bren has to quickly decide if he can trust the pack or will he and Celia go it alone to find Dan before it is too late.

THOUGHTS:
As the Weird Girl series is told by Celia’s point of view, this was interesting to read from Bren’s perspective. He gives us some insight into his friendships with Dan and Celia and why he they mean so much to him. We also learn why he is a lone wolf and why he likes it that way.

This story continues on from where we left off after A Cursed Embrace. There is plenty of action since the witch is now calling forth cursed souls and will try to possess bodies and they keep showing up around Bren and Celia.

It was an enjoyable addition to the series and gives Celia’s friends a little more depth to their characters. I don’t know what I enjoyed more: watching Bren torment his roommate Dan or Celia, Bren mouthing off to Aric, Bren riling up Aric’s new fiance or the always entertaining disapproving neighbor, Mrs. Mancuso.

Received an ARC courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

I jumped out and ambled toward the blue Colonial. Mrs. Mancuso, the girls’ elderly neighbor, was sweeping her front steps by the light of her lawn jockey’s lantern, a freak-ass little statue with bright red pants and a lazy eye. Despite the late hour she brushed her little broom back and forth with quick precise motions, even though any sap could have eaten off of the wooden steps as they were. She was probably bored, and lonely. The Wird sisters seemed to be her only form of entertainment.

She buttoned the top of her coat to protect her frail body against the cold. As a were, I’d keep the majority of my strength and reflexes till my dying day. Little old humans like her didn’t have that luxury. I grinned with my new set of chompers and winked her way. “Hey, sex-uh lady.”

Mrs. Mancuso smiled and tucked her neck skin into her brown wool scarf. “Oh, Brendan, you’re such a good boy to flirt with an old lady.” She furrowed her penciled in brows and glanced over at Celia’s former home sweet home. “Too good a boy in fact to be hanging out with those Wird girls.”

I nodded in agreement. “Don’t worry, Mrs. M, I’m trying to help them see the light. I plan to spend the next few hours reading to them from the Bible. They’ll come around, just leave it to me.”

The front door of the Wird house crashed open. There stood Celia—five-foot-three inches of long lethal muscles in skinny jeans and a tight white long sleeved T-shirt. The breeze picked up, sweeping her long mane of brown curls around her face. She pushed her hair out of the way, exposing her narrowing green eyes. Her supersized hearing had obviously picked up my chat with their not-so-favorite neighbor.

I waved. “Hey, Ceel. What’s wrong? Still mad I made you cancel your porn subscription?”

It was really hard not to laugh at her reaction. Celia subscribing to porn was like me joining a Justin Bieber fan club—so not happening. Her eyes shot open only to narrow further at Mrs. Mancuso’s stiff, reprimanding middle finger.

Celia stormed to the edge of her front porch, and while a wide driveway separated both houses, I still caught her golden skin reddening beneath the whitening glare of her porch light. “Mrs. Mancuso, I do not have a porn—”

“Harlot!” Mrs. Mancuso shot back. She lifted her broom defensively, daring Celia to cross the driveway and step foot on her property. Celia pinched the bridge of her nose. In a Mancuso/Celia Wird smack-down, Mrs. M won every time. Not that Celia couldn’t crush her like a fistful of berries, but because Ceel didn’t pick on those weaker than her, no matter how much they annoyed her.

I placed my hand on Mrs M’s shoulder. “It’s okay, honey-bunches. I won’t stop until the sin is washed from her wanton soul.”

“Bren, that’s enough out of you.”

Mrs. M patted my arm, ignoring Celia. “You’re a good boy, Branden,” she said once more.

She flipped Celia off again before shuffling into her house.


A Cursed Moon includes a preview of the upcoming Weird Girls novel Cursed by Destiny! 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-cursed-moon-cecy-robson/1115590116?ean=9780698144293

http://www.amazon.com/Cursed-Moon-Novella-Penguin-ebook/dp/B00DD76J0W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380909593&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Cursed+Moon

AUTHOR BIO:

Cecy (pronounced Sessy) Robson is a full-time writer, registered nurse, wife, and mother living in the Great Northwest. A member of Romance Writers of America, she attributes her passion for storytelling to the rough New Jersey neighborhood she was raised in. As a child, she was rarely allowed to leave the safety of her house and passed her time fantasizing about flying, fairies, and things that go bump in the night. Gifted and cursed with an overactive imagination, she began writing in May 2009. Her Weird Girls Urban Fantasy Romance series is published with Penguin Random House’s Signet Eclipse and released to stellar praise from multiple reviewers including: Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today, and Romantic Times. THE WEIRD GIRLS: A Novella, SEALED WITH A CURSE, and A CURSED EMBRACE are now available. A CURSED MOON: A Novella, releases December 3, 2013, followed by CURSED BY DESTINY, January 7, 2014.

LINKS:

Website:          www.cecyrobson.com

Twitter:           https://twitter.com/cecyrobson

Facebook:        http://www.facebook.com/Cecy.Robson.Author

Goodreads:     http://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomCecyRobsonAuthor


Dragos Takes a Holiday by Thea Harrison

Dragos Takes a Holiday (Elder Races, #6.5)


ORDER A COPY:

Publisher: Thea Harrison
Publishing Date: November 28, 2013
Ebook: ?? novella

Rating: 5 stars


The Bermuda Triangle. Pirates. The Peanut. What could possibly go wrong?

Dragos Cuelebre needs a vacation. So does Pia, his mate. When the First Family of the Wyr head to Bermuda for some much needed R&R, it’s no ordinary undertaking – and no ordinary weekend in the sun. Between hunting for ancient treasure buried beneath the waves and keeping track of their son, Liam—a.k.a. Peanut, whose Wyr abilities are manifesting far ahead of schedule—it’s a miracle that Pia and Dragos can get any time together.

They’re determined to make the most of each moment, no matter who tries to get in their way.

And did we mention pirates?


For Dragos Cuelebre, this has been one of the greatest, but craziest years in his millenia of existence. He was met and mated Pia, he lost two of his friends and sentinels to their own matings, he saved the Elven domain, he held the first Sentinel Games, and his mate gave him the greatest treasure that he has even had—his son, Liam. After a year like this, the Cuelebre family are in need of a quiet vacation.

At least that is what Pia is trying to convince Dragos to do with some subtle hints. She even gets out some books from the library on lost treasures knowing full well that an acquisitive dragon like Dragos won’t be able to resist a treasure hunting adventure and a family vacation in the Caribbean is just what Pia needs.

But you can’t expect a treasure hunt with the Lord of the Wyrs to be without complications. Especially since there are several parties already looking for the lost treasure of the Light Fae.

It doesn’t take long for a Wyr as powerful as Dragos to locate the treasure especially when it contains magical items and since the pirates can’t take the treasure from him, they take something much more valuable than gold—his newborn son.

THOUGHTS:
Peanut is now my favorite character of all time! I absolutely love him! We have this story told not only from Pia and Drago’s POV, but we also have several chapters told by their son, Liam, affectionately known as Peanut. He is absolutely adorable!! He even won over the harpy, Aryal, in Kinked, he’s that cute.

I loved that Thea went back to Dragos and Pia in Lord’s Fall and we were able to once again enjoy time with them and their new son. It was an interesting and lighthearted novella. We have become complacent with Dragos. He is a devoted husband and now father. But this story shows just what happens when you cross someone as powerful and deadly as a Wyr-dragon. He isn’t Lord of the Wyr for nothing.

And did I mention how cute Peanut is??

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

Mommy carried him into his room. He thought things were going quite well until she set him down on the thick, soft rug in the middle of the floor.

No, that wasn’t what he wanted. That was very much not what he wanted.

He was tired again, and his mouth hurt, and he was hungry all of the time. Hungry for what, he didn’t know. Hungry, hungry.

So he scowled and concentrated mightily on something that he wanted.

And the world shifted.

He felt better. Quite a bit better, actually. His new mouth didn’t hurt at all, but he was still very hungry.

Mommy kept talking as she moved around his room. She pulled diapers out of drawers, set them on the changing table and turned to the closet. “…I want to take you to the beach and play in the sand with you, except I don’t know that we should. Are you too young to play in sand, or to go into salt water? Peanut, you are such a statistical outlier, half the time I have no idea what we should do with you.”

She turned away from the closet, her arms full of clothes. When she looked at him, she shrieked and dropped everything.

It startled him so badly he felt a burst of anxiety. He turned around to scoot backward toward her as fast as he could, but something flopped along his back, and his arms and legs weren’t working quite the way they had been earlier. He stopped, confused, and looked down at himself.

Slender white forelegs stretched to the floor. He picked up a front paw, staring at the talons. Then he looked over his shoulder and flexed sleek, graceful wings. A tail trailed the floor behind him. He reached for it with one forepaw and picked up the end. When he tugged at it, his butt wagged. The tail was attached to him.

Mommy knelt in front of him and cupped his face. He looked up into her eyes. She was teary and yet smiling. “You are the cleverest baby ever,” she said. “You’re so beautiful, and exactly how I first dreamed of you.”

Pleasure sleeked him down, and he smiled at her.

Her eyes went very round. Then she beamed at him. “That’s quite a mouthful of toofers you’ve got there, too.”

She gathered him up in her arms. He tucked his snout into the crook of her neck, and it was so good. It was almost everything he wanted, except….

He was so hungry.

He fussed and whined, and she sat on the floor and rocked him, while she dug her cell phone out of her pocket and moved her thumb rapidly over the keypad. “Dragos, you have to come home right now.”

Daddy’s sharp voice came over the phone. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong exactly, but Liam has changed and he’s upset.”

“What do you mean, he’s changed?”

“I mean he’s changed! He’s in his dragon form, and I can’t even tell you how beautiful he is. He’s also upset for some reason. Maybe it scared him? And you’re missing all of it. You need to come see this.”

“I’ll be right there.”

Mommy set the phone aside as Liam whined and plucked at her shirt. “Are you hungry?” she asked gently. He nodded. “I can’t nurse you when you’re like this, sweetheart, not with all of those razor sharp teeth.”

That was the saddest thing he had ever heard in his whole life. He lifted his head and looked at her, grief bleeding from his eyes.

“Oh Peanut, I’m so sorry. Please don’t look at me that way.” They considered each other desperately. Mommy’s expression turned firm. He folded his wings back and clung to her, as she rolled to her feet and carried him to the kitchen.

She opened the fridge door and pulled out a pan that had the something he was craving. It smelled oh, so good. He arched toward the pan, reaching with both front paws.

“Hold on—let me get the plastic wrap off first.”

She slid to the floor as he struggled to get to the contents in the pan. She snatched off the plastic wrap, set the pan on the kitchen tile, and he fell on the leftover sirloin roast. Eyes closed, his whole body tense, he focused on gorging on the meat.

Running footsteps sounded in the background, but it was only Daddy, so he ignored it. A moment later, Daddy said in a quiet voice, “Well, damn. Look at that. Hello, little man.”

A large, gentle hand came down on Liam’s back, between his wings, and contentment filled him.

“I didn’t know what else to do,” Pia said. “He acted like he was starving, and he has all those teeth. Then I remembered what you said about how he was going to need a lot of meat.”

“You did exactly what you should have,” said Daddy.

Liam finished off the roast. The hungriness had gone away, and his belly felt comfortably stretched and full. Sleepiness descended. Eyes drooping, he looked over his shoulder. Daddy and Mommy knelt on either side of him, both smiling.

He scooted backward toward Mommy. When she gathered him up, he turned to climb up her body until he lay draped along her shoulders.

“I’m telling you, this is just like my dreams,” Mommy said. She reached up to stroke his leg. He stopped listening to their conversation, tucked his snout in the neckline of her shirt and fell fast asleep.

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